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Where did green energy tariffs go?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 19 February 2016 at 11:05 am

The Big Six energy providers have been getting in a bit of trouble recently with their slow (and limited) response to the plummeting price of wholesale gas. Their failure to pass on savings has attracted criticism from consumers and MPs alike. But, amid all the anger and commotion, more than just customer satisfaction has been lost: each of the Big Six's green energy tariffs has disappeared without a trace. 

A few years ago the Big Six energy providers offered green energy tariffs for people who wished to lessen the impact of their energy use on the environment. These rates tended to be more expensive, but they were viable options for people who did not mind spending a little extra for the sake of supporting renewable energy and environmental projects.

But these have quickly and quietly disappeared as an option. In 2013 Ofgem imposed regulation to cut the number of tariffs energy providers were allowed to offer. The aim of this decision was to reduce the number of tariffs available and to simplify the market. However, the result was that the less popular and therefore less profitable, green tariffs were axed.

But surely there was still room for a green energy tariff if the energy giants were truly as committed to getting green as they say? Dr Doug Parr, Greenpeace Policy Director, said: “The big utilities talk a good game on green credentials but when the going gets even a little bit tough, they drop their green tariffs and revert to type.”

And so now in 2016 a green energy tariff is no longer available with any of the Big Six. But it is not all bad news for those with an environmental outlook. A reassuring statement from an Npower spokesman said “Npower’s work to lower its environmental impact has not changed.” And the large firms still insist that their energy has become considerably greener over the last ten years.

A note to end on is that green energy tariffs are still available with several smaller energy companies, some of which are solely dedicated to providing green energy and are consistently rated highly in consumer surveys. Ecotricity was the world's first green energy provider and offers a green electricity tariff which uses 100% renewable energy. Good Energy and Ovo Energy are other smaller energy providers offering 100% renewable electricity. So, perhaps it is time to move away from the Big Six and find a better deal with a smaller provider.


Note: If you are eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme which offers £140 towards winter electricity bills in 2015 and 2016, do check that your new supplier offers this before switching. Guardian money revealed that this discount is only available if you are supplied by a company that has at least 250,000 domestic customers.

Source: The Independent

Image from: Ethan Kan


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